Memories are part of human existence. We remember many, many things. Some good, some bad. Memories help us know what may be dangerous so we avoid such things in the future. Other memories are pleasant, food we ate that tasted good, that we want to eat again sometime. Some take us back to happier times in our lives. Maybe when something is upsetting, a person thinks back on a happier event to escape the current situation. I do that a lot when something triggers memories of losing my parents. Since I have been needing to do a lot of work at their house, sorting things out, the pain of loss can get pretty intense at times. But, I see things that bring back happier thoughts and those help push the unpleasant memories away, bringing me joy, instead of sorrow.
So many things can trigger memories, certain locations that for one reason or another are associated with pleasant and unpleasant memories. Theaters, restaurants, stores, parks, cemeteries, stretches of highway, songs, photos, certain pieces of clothing that someone used to wear or bought for you, aromas (they claim the sense of smell is one of the most powerful in triggering memories, that’s why realtors either use cookie scented air fresheners or put a pan of cookies in the oven when having an open house, so people will think about childhood, gramma, mom, feelings that say home and happiness) many small, seemingly insignificant objects can do that. Many times we can’t really control when the memories surface. Sometimes something doesn’t stimulate memories, other times, the same thing will trigger powerful memories. Sometimes, that happens when I don’t want it to happen. Some are happy, joyful memories while others are painful. A couple things for me is driving past a Church’s Chicken Restaurant, my mother loved Church’s Chicken and we would get that often; a park in town where we would go as children and feed the fish; a golf course where we used to go to watch fireworks displays; the river bridge, my mother hated driving over bridges; the smell of meat, my dad was a meat cutter and we worked together for several years, the aroma fresh cut pork and beef remind me of him; stores, mercy sakes stores, she would drag my brother and I along and her favorite stores were K-mart and Woolco when I was growing up, just driving by them triggers memories; the green houses too, she loved flowers. So many locations, items, aromas, I was going through a box of things at their house the other day, dropped a bottle of the perfume she always wore and it definitely took me back to childhood, some of the clothing in the closet that were her favorites and she wore often do as well, I could go on and on listing things but, I think you folks get the gist of it.
One thing for certain, a person cannot escape their memories, many try through all kinds of methods. Some use drugs or alcohol, some try to replace the memories with new memories only to find that the new memories don’t displace old memories, they are just different memories, one thing I did was to avoid facing memories, I tried avoiding thinking about things, found busy things to keep me occupied. Unfortunately, the busy didn’t occupy my mind completely and memories still popped into my mind at times.
Other times, memories are elusive. I can think of something I need to do, start to go do that thing, and when I get to where I was going, maybe into the kitchen, I forget completely why I went in there. There were times in school, taking a test that I had studied hard for and knew the material well. But, while taking the test there will be a question, I started to answer and…….nothing, I could not remember the answer at all. NOTHING in my brain could jar that memory loose. I would skip the question, go to the rest of them, get finished with the test, go back and see if I could remember the answer. Sometimes I could, other times, still nothing. I would put something down. If a multiple choice test, at least the right answer was there and I had a chance to get it correct, but if an essay or fill in the blank question, sometimes I just put something down, not knowing if it was correct, but hoping for maybe partial credit. I would recheck other parts of the test, hoping that I would be able to remember the answer, sometimes would work, sometimes not. Eventually, the time would run out or I would give up, figuring after that much effort, if I couldn’t remember the answer, I wasn’t going to so I would turn in the test. Only to no more than walk out the door and suddenly, I remembered the answer. AND, could not get the test back to correct my error. Yes, memories are interesting parts of humans.
But, God has purpose for memories, like I said, they aid in survival. They help in hard emotional times as well as times of spiritual need too.
God also remembers and He wants us to remember things as well.
14 And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud:
15 And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.
16 And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.
But I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the heathen, that I might be their God: I am the LORD. Leviticus 26:45
And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. Deuteronomy 8:2
6 He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee,
7 Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.
8 And they remembered his words,
9 And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest.
And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Luke 22:19
But, even more than the remembering things, or instructing us to remember things, God forgets things and wants us to forget some things as well.
For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. Hebrews 8:12
And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Hebrews 10:17
And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. Jeremiah 31:34
Yes, God has things he wants us to remember. He also remembers things, and forgets things. He has promised that if we accept Christ as His son, and the way to salvation, confess our sins to Him and serve Him. He will forgive and forget our sins. What a magnificent, glorious God we serve.
Dear Lord, I praise You and thank You for my memories, the good, the bad and the in between. I pray You will soften any that have pain or other hardship associated with them and strengthen the good memories. I ask that You work in the hearts of others that may have bad memories and soften those as well. I ask You work in my heart to remember Your will, Your way, Your word and all the blessings you give me. I ask You to work in my heart to make me a better servant. Help me remember that I am small, but You are great and mighty and all I do should glorify You. I ask You work with me to show me Your will and way, show loved ones Your will as well. Help us all get ourselves out of Your way so that Your will be done. Draw us all closer to You, give us the heart of Christ that we act as You would have us to act. I thank You for my salvation and mercies You show me.
Thanks for coming with me down memory lane (yeah, yeah, bad pun, but what can I say, that’s the only kind I have.) Hopefully all will have only pleasant memories and many blessings, and that you all bless others as well.